Committee to investigate ‘source’ of PMO leaks

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ISLAMABAD:

The Audio Leaks Inquiry Commission will begin probing key questions relating to the source status of the audio leaks of conversations at the Prime Minister’s House (PMH) on Thursday (today).

The meeting of the committee chaired by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah was to be held here at the Interior Ministry on Wednesday but will be held today.

The key discussion should focus on the crucial difference between “eavesdropping” and “cyberleaking”.

It is pertinent to note that debugging is regularly carried out in all sensitive government offices. However, there was a chance that some advanced mobile apps were used to record the discussions of the Holder and the former Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, speaking to the media, IT and Telecommunications Minister Syed Aminul Haque said the matter was serious and had two implications – political and technical.

“We will discuss the technical aspect in the first meeting and that includes determining whether it was a bug or a cybersecurity breach,” said Haque, adding that apparently this was “not a hack nor was it the recording of the phone call”.

However, the minister said the details would be clear after technical experts belonging to the security establishment as well as the ministry give their opinion on the matter.

In addition to five ministers, the committee includes DG ISI, DG IB, technical experts from the PTA, FIA and the secretary of the National Telecommunications and Information Technology Security Board (NTISB).

It may be noted here that the Ministerial Committee was formed despite the fact that a high-level NTISB department exists within the Cabinet Division and its functions include formulating and issuing policies and directives to ensure security in the use of ICT services in the armed forces and all municipal departments in the country, as well as periodically review national security related to the expansion of ICT services in the country and advise the government accordingly.

The Chairman of the NTISB is the Secretary to the Cabinet and its members are the IT Secretary, DGI/DG(Tech)ISI, Additional Secretary to the Department of Defense, SO-in-C-Sigs Dte, GHQ, DG-C41 Dte, GHQ , Chairman NADRA, Chairman NTC, Chairman PTA, Chief Scientist and Science Advisor DESTO, DG Intelligence Bureau, Director of Signals NHQ, Deputy Chief of Air Staff AHQ (Electronics), Vice President FAB, Addl DG DCS.

The NTISB can also co-opt 10 members including Financial Advisor Cabinet Division, Member (Technical) PTCL, Director General FIA, Director General Met office, Chairman KRL, Chairman SUPARCO, DG Foreign Affairs, DG Pakistan Computer Bureau, Chief Engineer Pakistan Railways Telecommunications and representatives from Punjab, Sindh, KP and Balochistan.

Incidentally, to cover the political aspect of the audio leaks, the ministerial committee has members belonging to the main partners of the coalition, including the minister of climate change who belongs to the PPP and the minister of communication who is from the JUI-F although their ministries have no relationship. with audio leaks.

By the way, the committee was briefed by the cabinet division on September 30, but they were given seven days to oversee and review the investigation of the cybersecurity breach and also to review existing cybersecurity protocols in the Prime Minister’s office/house. and suggest immediate steps and an action plan to develop foolproof security systems and a digital ecosystem to isolate cyberspace from the PM’s office.

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